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An interview with our Operations Manager Robbie Loomer

What brought you to Joinery as a career? 

I didn’t know anything about joinery but when a friend of mine who knew I wasn’t fulfilled as a third-year electrical apprentice recommended the bench joinery apprenticeship here, I thought I’d give it a try. While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to remain in practical work, and the opportunity arose at the right time. Nine years later I’ve progressed from the bench to CNC Operator, then into CNC programming and now Operations Manager. 

Can you explain what makes Denne Joinery unique? 

It isn’t any one thing, but a combination of the level of detail we delve into on our projects, our world-class facility and our culture of progression. As individuals and as a team, we take pride in our work and our workshop. We ensure quality by sharing as much information with the next team member in the process as possible – from sample boards to cutting sheets, it may seem like a lot of information, but by providing a comprehensive download from design to production, we try and make the next team member’s role as easy as possible and the product as good as it can be. That culture, coupled with the opportunities for growth and development at Denne Joinery make it a great place to work. Nearly 70% of our office team, including myself, have transitioned from the shop floor, giving us a variety of knowledge and strong experience across all departments in joinery. 

What do you think is essential for success in high-quality joinery? 

For us, we couldn’t create high-quality joinery without our talented team, world-class facilities and machinery. We also rely heavily on good communication and the skillset of our experienced team of joiners, machinists and sprayers partnered with an efficient and proactive design team. Change can be quite scary for people, but it’s something we do well here. We implement small changes, that aren’t intimidating, but ensure we move with the times and our customer’s needs to create high-quality products. 

What are you most proud of in your role at Denne Joinery? 

I love project delivery. I get a huge sense of pride seeing what the team has created and meeting deadlines. But personally, I’m proud of my own journey and what I’ve achieved over the last nine years. Things weren’t just handed to me, I’ve been brave and grabbed opportunities when they’ve arisen, putting my neck on the line to try new roles. I’ve been supported, but nothing has been by chance. I’ve had to work hard and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved at my age and in a relatively short amount of time. 

What are you passionate about in your role? 

It’s all about the people for me. A huge part of my role is people management, and I am passionate about encouraging my team to recognise their worth here. It’s great to share good news, show the team photos of their finished work in situ and I enjoy reviewing the job after with the team to focus on the smaller details we can tweak to make the journey smoother next time around. To see them proud of the work they’ve done is a great feeling. 

How do you benefit from partnerships in your role? 

Communication is critical in my role. We are a big company with a range of personalities that all need to be managed differently so I enjoy adapting my management and communication style to the individual. I’m constantly talking to everyone, ensuring the information gets into the right pair of hands. The best partnerships are built around trust, so learning to trust people to deliver under pressure is a confidence booster for all involved and helps strengthen the working relationships within the team which is a critical factor if we are to continue delivering exceptional joinery products.   

What advice do you have for young people considering a career in joinery? 

Give it a go! Joinery can be a career, not just a job. There are so many avenues to explore, not just training in a traditional bench joinery apprenticeship but also design, machining, spray shop or site management. At Denne Joinery, there are open doors and a supportive team who will help you navigate your own path. 

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